Viking man lost heavy gold ring in Essex 1,000 years ago, say archaeologists

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To the Vikings, such jewellery acted as portable currency and a sign of status © Saffron Walden Museum

The size and weight of the ring suggest that it was most likely worn by a man. It weighs over 32 grams and we know from X-ray fluorescence analysis at the British Museum that the metal is over 95% gold, the rest being silver and copper.

That’s fairly common for gold of this date, to be a good standard. Vikings were very concerned with the purity of the metal. On silver coins you sometimes find little nicks made with a knife blade where they were testing that they’d got decent quality silver.

It’s got a little bit of damage – probably hit by a plough or something in the thousand years that it’s been buried – but it’s our policy to preserve the ring as found and not try to restore it to ‘as new’ condition.

The ring was made by twisting two strands of gold wire and then twisting these with two tapering gold rods to form a hoop. The thin ends of the rods and wires were joined at the back of the hoop by beating them together into a flat, diamond-shaped plate. The plate is decorated with tiny punched circles…Read More (

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